Get started
Get the app

Join millions of investors on Stash

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5
Get the app
Teach Me

5 Bank Fees You Should Never Pay Again

January 24, 2020

  • Banks make billions of dollars by charging customers fees
  • Common fees include for ATM usage, paper statements, or overdrawing accounts
  • Fact: You can avoid or minimize most bank fees
5 min read

No matter how you slice it, nobody likes bank fees.

We’ve all been there—when you take a look at our bank statement or account balance, only to find that you have less money than you thought. Where did it go?

Then you see it: Your bank has hit you with fees that you never anticipated. It could be for simply accessing your money, having too low a balance, or even receiving your paper bank statement. It’s enough to make you want to keep your money in your mattress.

A dollar here, $20 there—these bank fees can really add up. In 2019, the average overdraft fee was $33.36—and that’s just one of many kinds of fees banks typically charge.

Here are five of the most common fees banks like to charge, and ways to avoid them.

1. ATM fees

How to avoid it: Banks typically charge ATM fees when you’re withdrawing money from an out-of-network machine—or, an ATM that’s owned or operated by another institution.

To avoid ATM fees, get cash from your own bank’s machines, or go inside and do it the old-fashioned way: Speak with a teller. (Just make sure your bank doesn’t charge a teller fee, see below.)  You can also get cash back when you make a purchase with your debit card to get cash or switch to a bank that refunds ATM fees.

You can also shop around for a bank that covers a certain number of out-of-network ATM fees.

The Stash debit card gives you access to thousands of fee-free ATMs around the U.S.You can deposit cash to your account through your linked bank account, via direct deposit, or at participating CVS Phamacy®, Rite Aid and Walgreen stores3.

2. Account maintenance fees

How to avoid it: If your bank charges custodial and maintenance fees, ask if they have a different kind of checking account option that doesn’t have minimum balance fees. If not, the easiest way to dodge them is to switch to a bank that doesn’t charge them in the first place. Otherwise, you’ll need to abide by your bank’s rules in regard to balances and deposits.

As a last-ditch effort, you can try arguing with your bank to get these charges refunded. The customer service agent may be kind and refund a month or two to keep your business—but that probably isn’t going to prove a fruitful long-term strategy.

3. Overdraft, and/or non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees

How to avoid it: One of the biggest money-makers for banks, overdraft fees are also the hardest to swallow. If you overdraw your account, you’re basically borrowing money from your bank—and your bank is happy to lend it to you at an incredible markup.

The difference between an NSF and overdraft fee is small but important. When you’re charged an overdraft fee, the bank covers the charge for you. When you’re charged an NSF fee, the transaction isn’t approved, as the bank declines to pay it on your behalf. You’ll be charged one or the other, depending on which action your bank takes.

If you write a check for more than your account balance, it’s possible that you’ll be hit with an NSF fee or overdraft fee, and the recipient will also be levied a returned-check fee. This is a fee charged by the recipient’s bank for depositing a bounced check.

One way to think about it is if you borrowed $24 and were hit with a $34 overdraft fee, you’d be paying 17,000% APR, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

How can you dodge these fees? You’re entitled to decline or cancel overdraft coverage. If you cancel the coverage, the transaction will be declined, saving you from overdrawing.

A word of caution: Always, be aware of your account balances and plan purchases accordingly.

4. Paper statement fees

How to avoid it: It’s simple: Sign up for electronic statements, delivered via email. This is as easy as it gets, and while it may only save you a buck or two a month, it’s another dollar that can go toward your investment portfolio or retirement savings. Electronic statements are also good for the environment because they don’t require paper.

5. Teller fees

How to avoid it: Teller fees aren’t new, and the concept has been around since at least the mid-90s. They’re generally associated with online-only accounts, which typically don’t include in-branch services.

If you think you’ll need more than attention than an online-only account provides, opt for a traditional checking or savings account to avoid teller fees. Eighty-four percent of bank customers still visit their bank in-person, so be mindful of these teller fees if you do sign up for an online-only account.

Bank with Stash

Stash banking can help you avoid excessive bank fees. It won’t cost you anything to set up, there are no minimum balance requirements, and we won’t charge you any monthly or annual fees to maintain the account1.

Here’s a rundown of what we have to offer:

Get paid up to two days early

set up Direct Deposit with Stash banking.

Learn more

By Stash Team

1 Other fees may apply. Green Dot Bank does not offer overdraft protection services.
2 $2.50 at out-of-network ATMs and bank tellers, plus any fee that ATM owner or bank may charge.
3 Early access to your direct deposit depends on deposit verification and when Green Dot Bank gets notice from your employer, and may vary from pay period to pay period.
4 Stash Stock-Back® rewards is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A., or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program.
Next for you
How to Avoid Paying Overdraft Fees: It's All In the Fine Print

Investment Profile

Legal Cannabis Industry

Get all the details on investing in marijuana and the cannabis industry legally.

Learn more
Explore more articlesChoose a topic to learn more about
Technology love and money Retirement Careers budgeting

This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, represents an assessment of the market environment as of the date of publication, is subject to change without notice, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice or opinion. Stash assumes no obligation to provide notifications of changes in any factors that could affect the information provided. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice regarding any issuer or security in particular. The strategies discussed are strictly for illustrative and educational purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell, or an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. There is no guarantee that any strategies discussed will be effective.

Furthermore, the information presented does not take into consideration commissions, tax implications, or other transactional costs, which may significantly affect the economic consequences of a given strategy or investment decision. This information is not intended as a recommendation to invest in any particular asset class or strategy or as a promise of future performance. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions or is suitable for all investors. Each investor should evaluate their ability to invest long term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Investors should not substitute these materials for professional services, and should seek advice from an independent advisor before acting on any information presented. Before investing, please carefully consider your willingness to take on risk and your financial ability to afford investment losses when deciding how much individual security exposure to have in your investment portfolio.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. There is a potential for loss as well as gain in investing. Stash does not represent in any manner that the circumstances described herein will result in any particular outcome. While the data and analysis Stash uses from third party sources is believed to be reliable, Stash does not guarantee the accuracy of such information. Nothing in this article should be considered as a solicitation or offer, or recommendation, to buy or sell any particular security or investment product or to engage in any investment strategy. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. Stash does not provide personalized financial planning to investors, such as estate, tax, or retirement planning. Investment advisory services are only provided to investors who become Stash Clients pursuant to a written Advisory Agreement. For more information please visit www.stashinvest.com/disclosures.